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Thread: How to Run System Shock 1 on Windows 2000/XP FAQ v 1.0

  1. #801
    Registered: Feb 2003
    Location: Finland
    Did you try click it? As far I know, both menu entries should give same result by enabling you to hear game music and its sound effects at your computer.

  2. #802
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Toronto
    Yeah, I did. It tries to launch, the DOS box writes a bunch of text that goes away too fast for me to read. Then it kicks me to windowed mode and give me an error box.

    16 bit MS-DOS Subsystem

    VDMSound 2.0.4 - DOS Prompt
    The system cannot open COM1 port requested by the application. Choose "Close" to terminate the application

    Ignoring it doesn't help much. Still doesn't respond.

    Edit: never mind. I just ignored it several times and then it finally worked. I figured it was hanging on me.

    Edit2: OK, no shortcut is created, but the game runs. There is no VDMS configuration screen. Just COM1 errors then the game runs.
    Last edited by northeast; 7th Jul 2007 at 01:43.

  3. #803
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: London, UK
    I followed the faq and tried the vdmsound shortcut option, but had problems with it. I have XP Pro SP2 with an Athlon XP 2400 CPU with 1GB ram. I have a soundblaster live card and a wirelss keyboard mouse.

    So first, what I did was rem out the mouse2k from the CDSHOCK.BAT, to get my mouse moving at a reasonable speed rather than a crawl. I played around with the VDMSound to get the sound working properly instead of being choppy, and finally I tried running directly from the CDSHOCK.EXE and all was working and sounding brilliant, with correct gaming and mouse speed!

    With regard setting up sound. I used soundblaster for digital sounds and midi for the music. With that I got the best overall sounds and music.

    I would follow the FAQ completely, but be prepared to tweak and try things. Certainly after installing and successfully setting up the sound and music (meaning you hear music and Shodan when you test the two setups) I would try running the CDSHOCK.EXE and seeing what happens, then running it again with a right click and 'use VDMSound' option, and finally, try the vdmsound shortcut that was created.

    In any event, with the FAQ and all the various utilities I really do believe everyone will be able to get System Shock running either following the instructions completely or just doing a little tweaking here and there. Either way, it's a darn site quicker than the trail and error without the FAQ being used at all!

    EDIT: I forgot to say how brilliant this game is when set up right. Plaed it when it first game out but never got it looking and sounding as good as I have now - so kudos to the FAQ and various program creators, because I have to say, you have made System Shock play, look and sound better than I ever did back in the day! Kudos! (Also, I am a better FPS/RPG player so am enjoying the game and doing better as well - so basically EVERYTHING is fantastic about this game now!)

  4. #804

    Intro crash.

    I first must admit I'm using the HOTU version. The note does not appear but most people said they didn't need that. Everything is fine until the intro where I get another error that keeps coming back. I tried deleting the intro but it was just colored lines. Can I please have some help?

  5. #805
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: London, UK
    Bem, are you trying it from the FAQ? Have you therefore tried DOSBox yet? I don't know if the HOTU is a complete CD, maybe I will download and try, even though I have the full game. In any event, make sure you copy to a different folder than you INSTAL to, and let it just create a c:\sshock folder as default rather than your own.

    Finally, is it possible that the HOTU file has been created in such a way that if it includes a sshock folder you just run that? Also have you tried just right clicking on CDSHOCK.EXE, like I did? Also you might want to try using the XP Compatibility option if you haven't. Lastly, make sure you have set all the memory options as per the FAQ.

    Hope all the above helps. Without more information from you it's hard to know what direction to point you in!

  6. #806
    I tried DosBOX, it says "error 2004" and reccomends I increase FILES in config.sys to 30 or more, disable SMARTDRV or use a minimal config.sys and autoexec.bat. They also say if none of those work I call the number of a company that no longer exists.

    I tried the Quandary solution and got the above error and when I tried this one the musical note in VDMSound does not appear.

  7. #807
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: London, UK
    Bem, are you using the 2.1.0 version of VDMSound? I know a lot of links point to the 2.04 version. Also could you tell us about your system? I am presuming XP, but you may have Vista, and all my advice was assuming you had XP. As regard DOSBox, if you have the 7.01 version try downloading a 0.65 or 0.63, they barely take up any hard drive space, and it allows you to quickly try a couple different versions. You might also want to try a front end like D-Fend, or D.O.G. The former is available on this site and the latter on the official DOSBox site, along with a few other front ends. The advantage of front ends is they make all the dosbox tweaking much more user friendly and allow you to try things almost on the fly. Then, because they save the details as a profile, you can just click on the game name and open DOSBox with all the previous option you made without having to re-configure DOSBox.

    Hope something above helps!

  8. #808

    Didn't need it after all.

    If anyone is having problems (or doesn't want to go through a whole bunch of crap), go here:,211.0.html

    The download links are a bit down, still in this first post. I think the third is the one that works.

    Then just extract it, open the folder, click on the exe and press 1 then enter.

    If it works, great, if not press 3 then enter, change the top setting to DOS then change the refresh rate to 60.

    It is DESIGNED to work on XP.

    Once it is started, go to video (the mouse will seem VERY fast) and set the resolution to the highest (you need to start a new game then press ESC) and it will look great and work fine.

    Much easier (and cheaper) than all this crap, it is freeware BTW, but it is completely an interpretation of the code of the CD Version.

    Better yet the high-res packs are installed out of the box.

    It will also work on a Pocket PC, but it isn't necessary.
    Last edited by Bem; 19th Aug 2007 at 02:03.

  9. #809
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: London, UK
    I agree Bern, but you are being very tough on a bunch of people that have worked very hard to get SS1 working in XP. And don't forget that your bedfellow's link included links to work done by guys in this thread that you diss so badly! So without their work, you comment that bedfellow's is so easy would be far from true. What he has done is worked on the portable part and then linked into all the good work done here over the last couple years!

  10. #810
    I've been trying to use that but been getting random close-to-desktop moments. Which sucks.

  11. #811
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: London, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by Some_twerp View Post
    I've been trying to use that but been getting random close-to-desktop moments. Which sucks.
    If you have followed the instructions on this thread and set up VDMSound and everything and then gone to the StrangeBedFellows and followed there's you may have some grief. Either delete all the folders relating to this thread's instructions, then just go to StrangeBedFellows and download each of the files they recommend and follow their instructions, or just make sure you download and use the StrangeBedFellows programs/files from completely different folders.

    All they have done at StrangeBedfellows is take many years work from other people, done a little work themselves brining it all together and then putting information spread over many pages on this thread onto one page. They have done some coding for the game to run on a PC portable, but mostly it's just bringing other people's works together.

    Given that me and Bern are both running this game in XP at 1024x768 means that if you keep trying you will get it working, as the programs and files must work, given we have two working examples!

    Good luck - and keep at it, this game is well worth it. For example, personally, I thing the email voice messages in System Shock are better than the one's in Bioshock!

  12. #812
    Thank you very much for all the wonderful help keeping such an awesome game alive.

  13. #813
    Hi First post.

    Im falling at the first Hurdle. Ive installed VDMSound, and I have the cd copied to the hard drive. I right click on the initial.exe in the "inst" directory. It makes some file and then just crashes out. When I try and run initial on its own Dos4gw crashes out. Every time I try and run the short cut it makes it just dissapears.

    On running "dosdrv" from a dos window it does something, says its loaded a DLL and then nothing else.

    So Im a but confused

  14. #814
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: London, UK
    Tricky, try DOSBox, a utility to run DOS games. Also try running the cdshock.exe directly and finallt, if you havent, go to the above strangebedfellows page and download their cdshock.exe and try that one.

  15. #815

    I'd very much like to play System Shock for the first time, but I can't get it to run. I've followed the directions of the OP to a tee, but I still haven't cracked the surface of this game. My problem is that I get the same "COM2" message that a lot of people seem to get, but when I press "ignore," the game doesn't start up again, it just dies.

    My CDSHOCK.BAT file looks like this:

    @echo off
    C:\SSHOCK\MOUSE2KV.EXE 640 480 8 8 C:\SSHOCK\dos4gw.exe CDSHOCK.exe

    If anyone could help me play this game, I would be very grateful.

  16. #816
    You know, I just thought of something that might make a difference. My resolution is currently 1440x900. Would that cause the game to crash?

    EDIT: Eh, I just tried it at much lower resolutions and the same thing happened.

  17. #817
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Land Of Neds And Nessie
    Yo, been a while.

    I've recently got system shock and I've been trying out loads of old games using Virtual PC 2004. I've got syshock all set up and with sound, intro works and music/sound effects and stuff running.

    Thing is, it's giving me the "Not enough memory to make the Email Cursor" message as soon as I try to start a new game. Can anyone assist me?

    I'd rather use the Virtual PC as opposed to getting it to run on XP at the moment.

  18. #818
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: London, UK
    xBrandxBlandx and Tainted, assuming you have XP, I can only suggest doing what I said above. Even if you have the original game, go to and download their System Shock, their fixed cdshock.exe and their high res pack for 1024x780 and copy them into a CLEAN System Shock folder. NOT into a folder where you have already done a lot of mucking around to get the game working!

    Having doe that, just try double clicking the fixed cdshock.exe and seeing if that works as is. It does on my PC.

    If it doesn't, then try running the game in DOSBox from the above folder.

    If that doesn't work, run the Install.exe IN DOSBOX and if it only gives you options to reconfigure you know it is happy with the folder and files. Set the soundcard, etc and then try again, running CDSHOCK.exe inside and outside of dosbox.

    At this point if still no joy, try adding the mouse 2k as advised, and then try again. Try after each single change, rather than making all the changes then trying. maybe I wouldn't be running System Shock if I had installed the VDMSound or the maybe it wouldn't have.

    All I will say in closing is that I do not even have a CDSHOCK.COM inside my System Shock folder. I have a CDSHOCK ms-dos shortcut, but whether I right click the ms-dos shortcut or right click the fixed CDSHOCK.EXE I downloaded from strangebedfellows the game starts for me.

    If it will help you my C:\Shock\Res folder looks like this:

    DATA Folder
    GEN Folder
    SOUND Folder
    cdshock.exe (fixed XP exe from strangebedfellows)
    cdshock VDMSound shortcut
    CDSHOCK ms-dos shortcut
    CYB (Configuration file (make sure this point to the right directory!)
    dgvesa (ms-dos application)
    dgvoodoo (glide wrapper)
    dgvoodoo setup (glide wrapper)
    Glide2x.dll (glide dll)
    glide2.ovl (glide wrapper)
    mouse.exe (mouse driver)
    mouse (ms-dos shortcut)
    mouse2kv,exe (mouse 2k)
    ResPack800x600_v0.6 (in case the 1024x768 resPack didn't work!)
    ResPack1024x768_v0.6 (the 1024 ResPack worked for me!)
    SSP.BAT (the strangebedfellows System Shock uncompiled code)
    SYSTEMSHOCK_Portable_v0.6 (The original zip file I downloaded of System Shock. I am using this 61mb code rather than my original CD, as it works!)
    vesa.exe (VESA XP graphics helper)
    vesa (ms-dos shortcut)

    I don't use the dgvoodoo and Glide files, I don't use the 2k mouse (with it activated the mouse moved too slow) I can use the VDM shortcut, the CDSHOCK ms-dos shortcut and the CDSHOCK.EXE in order to start System Shock successfully. As you can see, I tried many things, but ultimately I got the game running without using any of my original CD!

    Hopefully from the above you can see what I tried and how I got it working and do the same yourself.

    Good luck, because this game really deserves to be played! I play it more than I do System Shock 2, for example!

  19. #819
    Registered: Mar 2005
    Location: Land Of Neds And Nessie
    Well, that's me got the game running at long last. Running at 1024x780 seems to slow the game down a bit, so I'll try using the lower res.

    God bless those fellows who brought us this release!

  20. #820
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: London, UK

    Happy for you

    Quote Originally Posted by Tainted View Post
    Well, that's me got the game running at long last. Running at 1024x780 seems to slow the game down a bit, so I'll try using the lower res.

    God bless those fellows who brought us this release!
    Well done! If it's the mouse that is lagging, and you are using 2kv mouse driver, try disabling it. I found my game lagged with that running!

    Other than that, the hours we put into getting this game to work is well worth it, because the game is just so brilliant! I am playing this puppy better than I ever did back in the day when my PC struggled with it even running ant 320x200!

  21. #821
    Ok john, thanks for your advice, because it seems to have gotten me a big step closer to enjoying this game the way it was meant to be enjoyed. One hurdle I've encountered right from the get-go after downloading SSP is the absence of the intro video when played with CDSHOCK.exe or from mouse.exe. I can hear the sound, but no video. When I use dgvesa, I can see the intro video, but it's really choppy and there are bizarre lines that appear at the top of the screen. I'll try to tinker around a little bit, but if you can think of anything that might help, let me know.
    Last edited by xBrandxBlandx; 2nd Sep 2007 at 19:07.

  22. #822
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: London, UK
    xBrandxBlandx, two things come to mind. One that it is a drivers problem, with older games this can be more of an issue. I am using the latest nvidia drivers as I couldn't play the Bioshock demo without them! System Shock still plays okay though. Prior to these (I think 103.12) drivers I was using 81.97 drivers.

    The other thing is that you should temporarily switch off your firewall and anti-virus, along with anything else that runs in your task bar as a process.

    If you have XP moving between divers is not too big a problem (other than the restart each time!), so depending what drivers you have that could be a way to go.

    Also, download VDMSound 2.0 (NOT 2.04) and try right clicking on the cdshock.exe and choosing VDMSound, as sometimes it's is actually the sound that causes the choppyness.

    As long as the game itself is playing okay, then you have won 99% of the war, just a small battle to deal with! I would rather have a problem with the movies than have perfect movies and problems with the game!

    So well done, let everyone know how you solved the problem, if you do, so other coming here get an idea of how to solve problems!

  23. #823
    What a joy you are
    Registered: Sep 2007
    It's not working for me. I follow all the steps exactly, and when I run it, I just get a black screen. The game never starts.
    User was banned by David on 3-10-2007

  24. #824
    Registered: Dec 2005
    Location: London, UK
    Quote Originally Posted by Red Alert View Post
    It's not working for me. I follow all the steps exactly, and when I run it, I just get a black screen. The game never starts.
    Tell us your system. and have you tried older drivers and dosbox and stuff. You just did not give anybody enough information to help, assuming you want help.

  25. #825
    methinks link to SSP should be added to the first post-its the most painless way of running shock1 under xp so far..
    Last edited by voodoo47; 1st Apr 2008 at 07:00.

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